Our Happily Ever After Adventures....

Or Something Like That

February, 2003

Hello Again,

It's hard to believe that it has been 2 years since I last wrote about our "Adventures in Rescue". Many people have asked why I stopped writing about what happened to us. To answer truthfully, since actually starting the shelter, Bob and I have gotten boring. There is only so much excitement in filling out the 27 page IRS charitable exemption form, (Picture Bob and I repeatedly banging our heads on the kitchen table) or, so many ways and cuss words to use when trying to cram a pill down an uncooperative cats throat, only to have him or her turn around and spit the *&#@! pill back out. (Picture Bob or I down on hands and knees, with a sticky pill stuck to our fingers, banging head on floor)

Here are a few excerpts of amusing things that have happened to Bob and I over the last few months that we can remember. (Or that we are willing to admit to)


By August, 2002 Bob and I decided that things at the shelter were stable enough that we could "vacation" for a few days. At that time we had 115 cats, 3 dogs and an unknown number of fish at the shelter... not exactly a normal pet sitter job. This was going to require a scheduling and coordination effort of epic proportions. We started 10 weeks ahead of time, lining up our anchor people, lining up volunteers, putting vets (our new best friends) on stand by. We were dutifully putting all this in Microsoft spread sheets. We almost blew up a PC trying to keep up with the changes.

Eventually we had the schedule worked out, check lists and instructions written, emergency phone numbers distributed and travel plans made. Then we told people where we were going. That's when everyone really started questioning our sanity...We were going to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. That's right, we were going to spend our vacation at another animal shelter.

On the day of our departure, Bob and I woke up at 4 am -- we wanted to allow enough time to make our 8 am flight. (At our age and size, there is no way that Bob and I could do the airport run) We do a final check on all the kids. When we get to the general population room, where most of the cats are, we notice a blast of warm humid air as soon as we open the door. Then we notice that a window is open in the room, and of course the screen is punched out. This is not exactly something you want to see at 4 am in the morning when you are getting ready to catch a plane at 8. We did a quick paw and tail count and fortunately, no one was missing. Apparently, the cats liked the air conditioned room with pillows and 24 hour buffet more than the adventure in the hot, humid outside world. We figured that culprit that got the window open was Oscar a new cat that had been playing with the window latches the day before. Now our problem was how to make sure he didn't get the windows open while we were gone. Lets just say its amazing what you can do with duct tape in a pinch.

We made it to the airport on time, and the flight did finally take off, landing a few hours later in downtown Las Vegas. Our next steps were to pick up the rental car, and head north east towards Utah. This is were I got into a little trouble. Somehow I ended up driving, which was fine, except everyone else in the car fell asleep and the directions were in the back of the car.

We eventually arrived, and soon met Marilyn. Marilyn was a snowshoe/siamese mix living in the special needs cat building at the shelter. Her mother had suffered from distemper while she was pregnant. As a result, Marilyn had neurological damage that made it difficult for her to control her legs.

While we were in the building, Marilyn started following us around... when we went into a room and came out she would be there waiting for us. When Bob sat down in a chair, she crawled up and fell asleep in his lap. This cat was clearly working on us. We started thinking about Marilyn, after all, we needed a 12th cat like we needed a lobotomy. But then, she didn't follow anyone else around the building, even the shelter staffers. We decided to try to adopt her. That's when they told us the truth... she wasn't a good shot at the litter box. While this would slow most people down, we already had Tommy, the king of the sprayers in the house. We figured as long as Marilyn was consistant where she missed, we wouldn't have a problem. That pretty much clinched it. Now our problem was how to get Ms. Marilyn back to Maryland.

Eventually it was worked out, Bob would fly out to Las Vegas (poor thing), meet representatives of Best Friends at a local Petsmart, and pick Marilyn up. Bob would be given a sedative for Marilyn for the 5 1/2 hour plane flight back. Seemed simple enough.

When the day arrived, Bob dutifully left for the airport 3 hours before his 12 noon flight. Got parked and through the check points and to the gate with out any problems. There he waited, and waited. Turns out the plane wasn't going to take off, it had been pulled out of service for mechanical problems. However, he had been re-booked on a USAir flight an hour later. Ok, a little delay, but not horrible. By 6 pm that night, I figured Bob was pretty much on his way to Vegas. That's when I got a call from Philidelphia: The USAir flight had been cancelled. He was put on still another flight. That flight also developed problems and was diverted to Philly. Seems to me this was the long way to get there.

Bob did eventually make it to Vegas, pick up his rental car and make it to the Petsmart in time. Once he got there, it turned out that Best Friends was short of people for their adoption event, could Bob help out some? Bob and Marilyn did eventually make it out of the Petsmart and back to the airport. Once there Bob duitifully gave Marilyn the sedatives. Turns out that rather than calming Marilyn down, they had the opposite effect. Plus Marilyn apparently got very bored about an hour into the flight. She made this known to most of the people on the plane. Bob had actually scored a $50 donation for the shelter at the airport. He thought he would have to use that donation to pay people to keep from getting voted off the plane.

Bob and Marilyn finally made it home by 3 am. Although it took a little while for her to settle in, Marilyn now takes her roll as chief greeter very seriously.